Guwahati: Assam’s group Prabajan Virodhi Mancha () on Wednesday announced that it would contest the coming general election to help conserve the rights of the indigenous people as no government—whether now or in the past—has taken up their cause. Frustrated and disappointed, the civil society group said it has decided to enter the political arena.
The group has not yet christened itself as a political party, but it has threatened that if within a week the government does not respond to its long standing demands of preserving the rights of the indigenous people of the state over land, employment and natural resources, it would be forced to launch itself as a political party.

PVM convenor and Supreme Court lawyer Upamanyu Hazarika said, “After 29 long years, the Asom Gana Parishad became irrelevant in the state. But within two-and-half years, BJP has turned into an anti-indigenous party by bringing in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. There is no party to represent the interests of the indigenous people today; the parties either represent the interests of illegal Bangladeshi Muslims or Bangladeshi Hindus.”

“The people of Assam have been very patient. We waited for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to throw out the Bangladeshis as he had promised in 2014. Now the BJP government is saying they want to bring in Bangladeshi Hindus to protect our land, language and culture,” Hazarika said and added that the PM’s rally in Changsari on February 9 was attended by 25,000 illegal migrants from the encroached areas in Sipajhar.

Coming down heavily on state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, he said, “Even though Sarma had admitted several lakhs of illegal migrants had been included in the ongoing National Registration of Citizens (NRC), the government has no intention of re-verifying the draft NRC to exclude such people.”

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